HC 980 OFSTED Annual Report

Written evidence submitted by The Home Education Advisory Service, Tricia Farey and Fiona Nicholson (HE Consultant)

Ofsted's Role In Monitoring Elective Home Education

1. We note that Ofsted has plans to extend its remit to inspect school improvement services, with a new inspection framework to be piloted from April. [1] This will have an impact on elective home education. Recent FOIs obtained by Fiona Nicholson show that elective home education services are often located within School Improvement. [2]

2. Ofsted's duties with regard to elective home education must be clarified since at present local authorities must choose between following the law or pleasing Ofsted.

3. Evidence from recent safeguarding inspection reports carried out by Ofsted shows that Ofsted approves "the targeted reduction in numbers of home educated children". [3] We are not aware of any discussion between the Government and Ofsted concerning the reduction of numbers and would be grateful if Ofsted could provide further details.

4. Evidence from recent safeguarding inspection reports shows that Ofsted believes it is appropriate to serve School Attendance Orders "where parents consistently refuse requests to see children’s work." [4] We are not aware of any new guidance on implementing s437 of the Education Act 1996 and would welcome clarification from Ofsted on this.

5. Evidence from recent safeguarding inspection reports indicates that Ofsted believes elective home education policies and protocols should be formalised/approved by - or at the very least reported to - the Local Safeguarding Children Board. We are not aware of any national guidance for LSCBs regarding elective home education and would appreciate more information from Ofsted on this.

6. Ofsted criticises one authority where information on children in elective home education was not reported to the Local Safeguarding Children Board. [5]

7. Ofsted refers to "the scrutiny of vulnerable groups...for example...electively home educated children..." and notes with disapproval that procedures have not been formalised with the Local Safeguarding Children Board. [6]

8. Ofsted notes with some regret that the Local Safeguarding Children Board has not yet approved the arrangements for children in elective home education. [7]

9. In a Freedom of Information response to Fiona Nicholson, [8] Ofsted stated that from March to December 2012 between a third and a half of the inspections of local authorities made some reference to elective home education.

February 2013

[1] http://www.cypnow.co.uk/cyp/news/1075976/professionals-decry-ofsted-dawn-raid-inspections

[2] http://edyourself.org/articles/2013foissenandlocationehe.php

[3] http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/local-authorities/doncaster

[4] http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/local-authorities/hackney

[5] http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/local-authorities/rochdale

[6] http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/local-authorities/southwark

[7] http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/local-authorities/cheshire-west-and-chester

[8] http://www.edyourself.org/ofstedchildprotectionfoi.pdf

Prepared 18th February 2013